The first major exhibition of the late photographer’s work in 40 years will occupy the entire second floor of the Anne Cox Chambers wing at the High Museum of Art in Midtown through January.
Between now and then, the gallery walls there are poised to greet patrons with an illuminating spectrum of Bullock’s signature portraiture of the material and metaphysical.
“He’s always using the camera to show us the world in a way we can’t see it with our own eyes,” said curator Brett Abbott.
Abbott, tasked with heading up the photography and collections arms at the High, was instrumental in bringing the showcase to fruition. The universal acclaim of Bullock’s output — noted for his visually symphonic eye and artisan’s skill — easily made this a coup worth pursuing. Being given the blessings of his family effectively sealed the deal.
Daughters Barbara Bullock-Wilson and Lynne Harrington-Bullock were part of a contingent of the famed lensman’s survivors to make the trek from California last week to celebrate “Revelations.” Bullock died there in 1975.
The 60-something sisters regaled members of the media with intimate details of their father’s works. They would know better than most, considering his use of them as models since they were toddlers — with several of those snapshots adorning the walls at the High.
Perhaps none are more famous, or controversial, than the elder Bullock’s “Child in Forest” gelatin silver print from 1951, which features a 6-year-old unclothed Barbara lying prostrate in the center of the woodland tapestry he happened upon during a family vacation. “He did things to disrupt your reading of the natural world, to shake you out of complacency,” she said.
The father’s experimental instincts are further laid bare in intermittent exposures and negative prints.
All seem to emote — as Bullock-Wilson put it — his grasp of the pervasiveness and importance of energy, movement and light.
Bullock’s endeavor to capture the latter in its many forms makes up the exhibit’s color light abstraction segment. “A lot of people think black-and-white [photos] are all our father ever did,” said Harrington-Bullock. “But, from 1959 to ’65, he worked almost exclusively in color … and created this body of work that I think is phenomenal.”
In parting, Bullock’s next of kin offered this summation of his rendering of art: “We believe that Dad’s work is transformative — it can open you up and change your life,” Bullock-Wilson said.
IF YOU GO:
o What: "Wynn Bullock: Revelations"
o When: through Jan. 18
o Where: The High Museum of Art
o Tickets: $12 to $19.50
o Information: www.high.org